Russian Regions Told To Get Ready For New Drive To Recruit 400,000 Professional Soldiers – OpEd


Given how unpopular a general mobilization would be especially in the big cities, the difficulties Moscow has had with the draft during recent cycles, and the Russian army’s need for more men for its war in Ukraine, the Kremlin is mobilizing the regions to recruit 400,000 new professional soldiers by the end of 2023, the URA news agency reports.

It says that preparations for such a campaign have been ongoing for several weeks and are being coordinated by Dmitry Medvedev, vice chairman of the Russian Security Council but that Moscow has no plans to announce this program as something new. Instead, the center will present it as a continuation of current policy (

To that end, URA reports, the new effort will begin on April 1, the same date as the spring draft cycle starts. And at that time, regional officials including governors are expected to promote this plan with public speeches and appearances; and the Russian military commissariats have been instructed to work with them on this project as well.

Significantly, the news agency reports that various regions have been assigned quotas for the number of new professional soldiers they have been told to recruit. Sverdlovsk and Chelyabinsk oblast governments have been told to come up with 10,000 new professional soldiers each; and Perm Kray has been directed to find slightly fewer.

These numbers strongly suggest that Moscow will try to run this program just as it has the drafting of soldiers for the Ukrainian war in places far beyond the ring road of the capital lest such recruitment efforts exacerbate discontent with the war. But that effort, the larger and longer it proves to be, could backfire, as it already has in places like Tyva and Daghestan.

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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